Retail 2022 predictions, brick-and-mortar central, DTC focus on physical retail, e-commerce acquisition costs on the rise

Thursday, Dec 16, 2021

A recent article from Inc. highlights five retail predictions for 2022.  Stores, data, and experiences serve as common themes for next year. As sales numbers and traffic rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels, consumers and retailers are optimistic for the future. 

Here are Inc.’s retail predictions for 2022:

Stores Make a Major Comeback

Numerous retailers have announced brick-and-mortar expansions within the last year – DICK’s Sporting Goods, Ralph Lauren, Warby Parker, and Allbirds to name a few. With the frictions and rising costs of e-commerce, many direct-to-consumer companies have also made the initiative to open physical stores. 

With the influx of brick-and-mortar stores, future retailers will need to deliver meaningful and personalized store experiences to continue to stand out. Experiential setups that incorporate physical and digital elements are a common theme among retailers today, and will continue to be popular throughout 2022. Experimentation with store models, locations and setup is crucial in 2022 as retailers see the formats that work best for their consumers. 

Stores Become Multifaceted Assets

The pandemic has made stores more than just a place to shop – they now serve as distribution hubs and last-mile delivery options for brands. Consumers today want fast, reliable shipping options. When retailers use their own stores as distribution centers, they can guarantee faster shipping rates. 

Brands Use Data to Find New Customers

Data has become paramount in determining new store locations. The pandemic caused many people to move from bigger cities to the suburbs, creating a need for more stores in those areas. Retailers are now opening smaller-format stores to cater to these neighborhoods.

Location data isn’t the only thing source retailers are pulling from. They are also testing data crowd-tracking cameras, point-of-sale devices, customer smartphones and in-store sensors to find new customers. 

Digital-Only Customer Acquisition Strategies Won’t Cut It

Digital acquisitions costs are on the rise, and have been for the past couple of years. These costs are expected to rise further as brands like Apple and Google move to restrict the use of cookies. Because of this, several large retail advertisers have made massive cuts in their digital budgets. More brands are expected to follow in pursuit in 2022 as they realize physical stores are a more cost-effective solution. 

Stores have become their very own ads – walking billboards that sell. Considerable ad spend in 2022 will likely be directed towards experimentation for brick-and-mortar locations.

Store Associates Will Become a Significant Competitive Advantage

Brands have realized the true potential and competitive advantage of store associates. Frontline store teams will facilitate locations and influence consumers in 2022. 

While technology plays an important role in retail today, the most successful brands understand the true power of human connections and interactions. Store associates can create meaningful and empowering relationships with consumers who enter their stores. 

Source: Predictions for Retail in 2022 – Inc.
Photo Credit:  Predictions for Retail in 2022 – Inc.

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